1 in 6 of the World's Children Live in a Conflict Zone

Globally, 426 million children live in conflict zones today. Nearly 200 million children are living in the world's most lethal war zones, the highest number in over a decade. And around the world, more than 89 million adolescent girls currently live in conflict zones.

Children living in war-affected countries live in constant fear, experiencing grave violations of their rights, with serious impacts on their mental health. Many children living in lethal war zones are already at risk of climate change and facing unprecedented levels of hunger as well.

Today, Save the Children is the world leader in protecting children from the physical and emotional wounds of war.  We've helped more children in crisis recover and return to learning than any other global humanitarian organization. Your generous support makes this work possible. Make a one-time donation to the Children's Emergency Fund or join Team Tomorrow to connect with the causes you care about - like conflict- through your monthly donation.

The 10 most dangerous countries for children living in conflict

Save the Children's report, "Stop the War on Children: A Crisis of Recruitment," reveals that the number of children living amid lethal conflicts rose nearly 20% in 2020 — making it the second-highest number on record. We have ranked the 10 worst conflict-affected counties in which to be a child based on the number of children suffering from the six grave violations, the number of children exposed to conflict and the number of battle deaths nationally

6. mali

7. nigeria

8. cameroon

9. sudan

10. central african republic

What Are the 6 Grave Violations Against Children?

The UN reports and monitors 6 grave violations against children.

In Yemen, a girl wears a white bandage covering her wounded eye and holds a doll in her hands.
Grave violations include:
  1. Killing and injuring of children
  2. Recruitment and use of children by armed forces or armed groups
  3. Abduction of children
  4. Attacks on schools or hospitals
  5. Refusal or lack of humanitarian support, like access to basic health care
  6. Rape and other forms of sexual violence

How Save the Children Helps Children in Conflict Zones

Save the Children believes that every child, no matter where they live, deserves to live a safe, happy and healthy life. We lead the world in protecting children from the physical and emotional wounds of war and have helped more children in crisis recover and return to learning than any other global humanitarian organization.

How many girls are living in conflict zones?

Conflict makes finding work harder, disrupts education, increases costs and poverty and weakes the protections that should be in place to keep children safe from violence. This in turn increases girls’ risk of child marriage because child marriage is sometimes seen as a way to reduce financial pressures on families or can be seen as a way to protect girls from other forms of gender-based violence

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a girl wears a covering over her head and turns her head from the camera.
  • Around the world, 89.2 million adolescent girls currently live in conflict zones – that’s almost 1 in 5 adolescent girls (aged 10-17 years).
  • Globally, girls affected by conflict are more than 20% more likely to marry as children than those living outside of conflict zones.
  • Increased risk of child marriage linked to conflict was even higher for girls in East Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and South Asia.

Read More About Childhood Amid Conflict 

What’s Life Like for Yemeni Children Growing Up in Conflict?

Children of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Meet Maya–An Advocate for Ending Child Marriage

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